Horse & diamond project

Horse McDonald
Horse McDonald

John Murray on an exciting new venture for Horse McDonald

The hugely talented and underrated Horse McDonald phoned this week to talk on the radio about her new project Diamond Speaks which premières at Celtic Connections this month.

Drawing from the words from inspirational ladies of character such as Mary Stuart and Olive Fraser from Aberdeen with The Unwanted Child circa 1940, Horse has produced brand new musical arrangements to suit.

The Diamond Speaks refers to the diamond Mary Queen of Scots gifted to Elizabeth I.

The project is so new that no material has even been recorded (or rehearsed) yet but this will be done at the Glasgow show for projected autumn release as an album.

The band features harp with Gillian Fleetwood and audio samples which will give a modern feel.

This new band line up will promise new arrangements of Horse songs too.

This one off performance is at the Mitchell Library Glasgow on January 29.

With a jangly reminder of the Postcard Records of Scotland house style a new track called Nobody’s Empire is getting good airplay these days.

This very personal song with fine harmonies is actually the first track from the ninth album from Glasgow heroes Belle And Sebastian.

The former BRIT Award winners release Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance (Matador), this week with a UK tour announced for May where they play the Hydro Arena Glasgow on the 22nd accompanied by the Scottish Festival Orchestra.

There is a hint of dance on board here too helped by Gnarls Barclay producer Ben H. Allen III in charge.

Firstly The Party Line chugs along like the 1980’s New Romantics then Enter Sylvia Plath comes straight off a Pet Shop Boys playlist with a Moroder dance beat over a Neil Tennant-esque echo vocals.

The new Southern Tenant Folk Union album, The Chuck Norris Project (Johnny Rock), is a concept album for the Edinburgh alt folk combo.

Invasion USA still has manic banjo and sweeping fiddle while The Wrecking Crew samples US presidents speeches to great effect.